Featured UTM

Joint project LUV to advance U-spaces in Germany

Digital infrastructure for efficient drone traffic management in Germany is soon to be launched.

Hamburg, 2 June 2022 – It is conceivable that the first U-spaces in Germany will be established as early as January 2023. This will create a digital infrastructure for the efficient organisation of drone traffic – especially in urban areas. To ensure that this is implemented in Germany as quickly as possible, a project consortium comprised of representatives from public authorities, research institutes and industry has pooled its expertise in the collaborative project LUV: “Solutions and recommendations for action for the national implementation of the U-space regulation”. LUV is receiving funding of approximately EUR 870,000 from the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) for a period of 15 months.

Dr Volker Wissing, German Federal Minister for Digital and Transport: “Drones are fast and intelligent helpers, be it in the transport of medicines, logistics, rescue operations or the inspection of railway tracks, bridges and power lines. To make the safe use of drones in Germany even easier, we want to enable the establishment of U-space areas from next year. We are currently working out the pre-conditions for this with a group of experts. The U-space real laboratory that took place in Hamburg, which we also supported, has already answered important questions. The new LUV research project picks up seamlessly from here and will provide us with further concrete findings and recommendations. We will use these to deliver safety in German airspace and enable more innovation and progress in unmanned aviation.”

The LUV project partners: The consortium leader of the project is the Helmut Schmidt University (HSU), which is the university of the Federal Armed Forces located in Hamburg. Further third-level institutions are also involved, namely the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) and the HafenCity Universität (HCU) Hamburg. The project partners from the business world are Droniq GmbH, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH and the Hamburg-based HHLA Sky GmbH. The Hamburg Ministry for Economics and Innovation (BWI) is also a partner.

Background and objective of the LUV project: In April 2021, the European Commission adopted the so-called U-space Regulation, the legal basis for the designation of U-space airspaces in the European Union (EU). The regulation will become binding on all Member States for the designation of U-spaces from 26 January 2023.  However, it leaves the Member States leeway in their design. The LUV project is intended to provide findings that support the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV) in making the best possible use of this opportunity when implementing the regulation. The project is intended to answer questions still open from the U-space real laboratory, or sandbox, conducted in Hamburg, which also received support from the BMDV.

The recommendations to be developed in the project consortium relate, among other things, to legal requirements (such as the rules of the air or legal requirements for flight authorisations), to technical solutions (such as for the real-time transmission of identification and movement data between aircraft) and to organisational requirements (such as the immediate and, if necessary, automated checking and issuing of official flight authorisations). The scientific basis for this will be provided by simulated traffic scenarios and cost-effectiveness analyses, which are carried out on the basis of a U-space concept of operations developed in the project and associated process models for the operational and technical implementation of U-space airspaces.

Another objective of the LUV project is to develop procedures for local authorities and agencies to participate in the designation of U-spaces. The corresponding consultation formats will be developed in a U-space planning workshop.

Prof Dr Alexander Fay, of the Helmut Schmidt University (HSU): “In the LUV project, we can build on the successful interdisciplinary research in the UDVeo joint project, also funded by the BMDV, which combined legal and technical solutions for controlling drone traffic.”

Further content on the LUV project can be found in German here: www.luv-projekt.de

About the project consortium:

Helmut Schmidt University (consortium leader): With excellent research and teaching, the Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg (HSU) is a science partner of the German Federal Government. Two HSU university chairs are involved in the LUV project:
In the project, the Chair of Automation Technology is responsible for the development of process models as a basis for the technical and operational implementation of U-space airspaces. In addition to this engineering work, the Chair of Automation Technology is responsible for organisational project management, including coordination of the consortium and public relations.
At the Chair of Law for Public Administration, in particular public commercial and environmental law, research is being conducted on issues of infrastructure regulation with a focus on unmanned air traffic. The Chair will determine the requirements and scope for action of future national legislation from a legal perspective.

Hamburg Ministry for Economics and Innovation (project partner): The Ministry for Economics and Innovation of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (BWI) is responsible for administrative tasks relating to manned and unmanned aviation, such as issuing flight authorisations and acting as the air supervision authority for Hamburg’s airspace. The BWI also plays a central role in the field of aviation in terms of legal policy. In addition to qualifying as a German UAM (urban air mobility) model region and membership in the European UAM Initiative Cities Community (UIC2), the BWI regularly participates in the further development of regulations for aviation at a national and European level. Owing to the supervision of all UAS projects in the city and involvement in legal matters, such as the UDVeo (covering efficiently organised urban drone traffic) and LUV projects, the BWI has comprehensive expertise in current and future areas of application and practical challenges.
www.hamburg.de/bwi/abteilung-luftverkehr/ (German only)

DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH DFS is the German air navigation service provider responsible for air traffic control. It operates four control centres for the lower and upper airspace as well as 15 control towers at the designated international airports in Germany. On its campus in Langen, DFS maintains a control centre and its Headquarters as well as the Air Navigation Services Academy, the company’s own Research Centre and the Systems House, including its data centre. DFS develops many of the systems for its own operations together with its Systems House and its research unit actively participates in German, European and international research projects. The DFS Group also includes DFS Aviation Services GmbH as well as shareholdings in DRONIQ GmbH, FCS Flight Calibration Services GmbH and other service providers in the field of aviation and air navigation services. Through DFS Aviation Services GmbH, DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH participates internationally in consulting and outfitting projects for airports and air navigation service providers. www.dfs.de

Droniq GmbH (project partner): Droniq GmbH is headquartered in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and is a joint venture between DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS) and Deutsche Telekom AG. The object of the company is the provision, distribution and marketing of services for drones and other aircraft in Europe. DFS holds a stake of 51 percent through its subsidiary DFS International Business Services GmbH, while Deutsche Telekom holds a stake of 49 percent through Telekom Innovation Pool GmbH. www.droniq.de

HafenCity Universität Hamburg (project partner): HafenCity Universität Hamburg (HCU, a university for architecture and urban development with a focus on the built environment. The Chair of Digital City Science at the HCU researches digital technologies for urban and metropolitan development and applies them in a national and international context. The interdisciplinary team develops data-based approaches for the analysis and planning of complex urban systems and brings together expertise from architecture, urban and spatial planning, computer science and media technology. With an extensive partner network, ground-breaking tools are developed that are used in basic research as well as in concrete application projects and are taught to students. 
https://www.hcu-hamburg.de/research/digital-city-science/ (German only)

HHLA Sky GmbH (project partner): HHLA Sky, based in Hamburg, Germany, is a subsidiary of the Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG (HHLA). The start-up developed an Integrated Control Center that can simultaneously and safely control 100+ drones or autonomous mobile robots (AMR) in parallel operations beyond the visual line of sight – centrally managed from a single control center at different locations around the globe. For this solution, HHLA-Sky won the German Innovation Award 2021. www.hhla-sky.de

Hamburg University of Technology (project partner): The Institute of Air Transport Systems (ILT) at the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) is synonymous with research and teaching in air transportation. The research focuses primarily on the three research areas of overall concepts, operating procedures and business models in the air transport system with regard to their contribution to safe, passenger-friendly, ecological and economical air transportation. The ILT is contributing its distinctive expertise to the project in the overall aeronautical system and especially in the field of simulation of complex processes. It is also involved in the analysis and design of possible business models and economic feasibility studies of U-space airspaces. www.tuhh.de

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